When I was building AudienceWise, and subsequently, managing product planning and strategy for Moz, I was pretty plugged in to the big influencers and hot follows. When I left Moz, and took a year off traveling the world, I subsequently unplugged from the industry, among many other things (ahem, politics, I’m looking at you!) Admittedly, not a ton has changed from 2016, but there are a few new entrants on the list. The list is not ordered by rank necessarily:
Danny Sullivan – Google
Danny was one of the first people to cover the search engine beat as a journalist. Starting way back in 1996, he eventually started Search Engine Land. Today, he works for Google “to help explain how search works to the public, as well as help bring feedback in to improve search.” When Danny was running Search Engine Land, he had unique connections and access into Google and was an important follow. Today, he is the “liaison” between Google and Webmasters, and is a must follow. While he is not a prolific journalist or blogger these days, his occasional posts on Twitter should be closely followed.
Rand Fishkin – Sparktoro
Rand Fishkin has been a voice for the every-person marketer since the early 2000s. He started Moz in 2001, and ran it until 2013. Today he is a busy blogger, speaker and tweeter, and always has a strong opinion. While he does not do as many “Whiteboard Fridays” these days, the archives can be mined for SEO gold. Today, he is building SparkToro, a search engine to find influencers.
- Blog: SparkToro
- Most linked-to content: The Future of SEO Has Never Been Clearer (nor more ignored) (141 backlinks)
- Other: Rand’s Amazing List of Resources
Barry Schwartz – SEO Roundtable
Barry Schwartz has been covering Google and search engines for most of the 2000s. If you want to be up-to-the-minute on algorithm updates, SERP (search engine result pages) changes and general search engine news, Barry has you covered.
- Blog: Search Engine Roundtable
David Mihm – Tidings
If you have a business with a physical location and want to optimize for Google My Business, David Mihm is your follow. He has been a leader in local SEO for over 10 years, and has helped small, medium and enterprise businesses optimize their locations on Google and beyond. David loves to build tools that help local business. His first business was GetListed (later sold to Moz and became what is MozLocal today) that enable businesses to check the consistency of their listings across several location databases. His current project, Tidings, helps businesses easily spin brand-customized curated newsletters with very little effort. While doing all of this, David maintains a must-subscribe newsletter himself and tweets regularly.
- Newsletters: Minutive and Insider
Avinash Kaushik – Google
Avinash Kaushik mixes a genius for web analytics with an approachable writing and speaking style. If you have ever seen him speak, you are immediately struck by how entertaining and technical his is. Two things that usually don’t co-habitat. He currently works for Google as a Digital Marketing Analyst and is a prolific speaker and published author of two seminal books on Analytics: Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour a Day. He doesn’t post on his blog often, but when he does it is in-depth, visual and a must read.
- Blog: Occam’s Razor
- Most linked-to content: Stop All Social Media Activity (Organic) | Solve For A Profitable Reality (367 backlinks)
Wil Reynolds – Seer Interactive
Wil Reynolds is the Founder of the digital agency powerhouse, Seer Interactive. He started the company in 2002 and has built it to over 150 employees. He speaks at conferences around the world, and has a knack for ranking as the top speaker. While he does not personally blog a lot, the content that Seer produces is high quality and actionable.
Cyrus Shepard – Zyppy
Cyrus Shepard has one of the best voices in SEO, figuratively and literally (he MC’d MozCon for years). It’s hard to get a better source of SEO advice than from the former SEO and content development lead for one of the leaders in SEO, Moz. Cyrus now runs his own consulting business and creates some of the best SEO content out there.
Dr. Pete Meyers – Moz
Another former colleague of mine at Moz, Dr. Pete is the master of understanding the data behind day-to-day changes in how Google ranks and displays results. He is the mad marketing scientist behind Mozcast and tracks the velocity of changes in a huge set of rankings on Google. He also gives good presentation, and is always one of the top-ranked speakers at MozCon.
- Site: Mozcast
Marie Haynes – Marie Haynes Consulting
Marie Haynes is obsessed (in a good way) with changes in Google’s algorithm and Google quality guidelines. She has done the painstaking work of combing through the Google Quality Raters Guidelines and making it digestable. If you want to know when the Googe winds are picking up, make sure to follow her work and twitter account.
- Blog: MarieHaynes.com
- Most linked-to content: The August 1, 2018 Google Update strongly affected YMYL sites (506 backlinks)
Mike King – ipullrank
Mike King has been a thought-leader in SEO and digital marketing for years. He is a prolific blogger, tweeter, and speaker (and a talented rapper). He can take any subject on SEO and make it engaging, provocative, and entertaining. If you have a chance, you need to see a Mike King keynote.
Ross Hudgens – Siege Media
Ross Hudgens is the CEO and Founder of Siege Media that focuses on content development for SEO. Well, they are eating their own dog food, because they create beautiful multimedia content on their blog. They cover SEO, strategy, content creation and content promotion.
- Blog: Siege Media
- Most linked-to content: How to Increase Website Traffic by 250k+ Monthly Visits (371 backlinks)
Joost de Valk – Yoast
Joost de Valk is the CEO and Founder of Yoast, by far the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast offers a variety of paid courses for SEO, but does offer a free SEO course for beginners. Additionally, their blog goes into depth on subjects such as content, social media, analytics, and of course SEO and updated daily.
- Blog: Yoast
- Most linked-to content: WordPress SEO Tutorial • The Definitive Guide • Yoast (3,520 backlinks)
Eric Enge – Stone Temple Consulting
is the Founder of Stone Temple Consulting, recently acquired by Perficient. He is regular producer of educational and data driven SEO content, and entertaining tactical SEO videos. Stone Temple also has research studies and resource guides covering mobile vs. desktop search, Accelerated Mobile Pages, mobile voice usage, the impact of backlinks, and more. You could easily spend a day diving in and learning.
- Case Studies: Stone Temple
- Most linked-to content: Digital Personal Assistants: Which Is the Smartest in 2018? | Stone Temple (1,970 links)
Aleyda Solis – Orainti
Aleyda Solis is an expert at international SEO and the founder of Orainti. She is often a featured speaker at many of the industry’s top conferences, including MozCon, SMX, SearchLove and Pubcon. If you don’t get an opportunity to see her speak, she’ll keep you date on international and technical SEO on her blog on her personal site.
Larry Kim – MobileMonkey
Larry Kim was the founder of WordStream, an online advertising management software company. He sold the company to Gannett in July, 2018. His latest company is MobileMonkey, a Facebook Messenger Marketing Platform. Larry knows online advertising, Larry knows paid search, Larry knows paid social. Make sure to follow him on twitter and read his latest blogs about marketing on Facebook.
AJ Ghergich – ghergich & co.
Besides having the best twitter handle in SEO (@SEO), AJ Ghergich has one of the best eyes for curating content marketing and SEO content. The blog on his site hasn’t been regularly updated over the last year, but there are still plenty of nuggets from the past to be mined.
- Blog: Ghergich
- Most linked-to content:Breaking: ‘Not Provided’ to Slam 3rd Party Paid Search (143 links)
Dana ditomaso – kickpoint
I have personally seen Dana Ditomaso speak several times on local SEO. But, local isn’t her only jam. She currently is President at Kickpoint where you can read their beautifully designed blogs about everything from SEO, strategy, and, well of course, design.
John Mueller – google
John Mueller is the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, and does a good job keeping webmasters up-to-date with the latest Google search changes and answerin related questions. He often hosts Google Webmaster hangouts where he will take questions directly from SEOs.
Cindy Krum – Mobilemoxie
Cindy Krum is the founder and CEO of Mobile Moxie, a mobile marketing consulting and toolset company. Cindy is THE thought-leader in mobile search and marketing, can be found on the speaking tour and has authored a book on the subject.
Neil Patel – Neil Patel Digital
Neil Patel has been a strong voice in digital marketing for the better of a decade and is a mass producer of content through multiple mediums. He is a New York Times best selling author, daily podcaster, blogger, speaker and frequent webinarer(?). When it comes to digital, Neil knows a lot about a lot and is willing to share it.
- Blog: NeilPatel.com
- Podcast: Marketing School
- Book: http://Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum
- Most linked-to content: SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide (5,040 links)